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Article

Закон о государственном языке Российской Федерации: история обсуждения и поправок

Zeitschrift für Slavische Philologie. 2016. Т. 72. № 2. С. 255-269.

The law “On the state language of the Russian Federation,” adopted in 2005, became a reflection of debates about the Russian language at the beginning of the twenty-first century and caused frustration in both conservative and liberal segments of society. On multiple occasions, attempts were made to amend the law or enact additional laws aimed at “protecting the Russian language.” Some attempts to toughen the legislation were successful (for example, the adoption of legislative bans on swearing), while others were not. All attempts, however, gave rise to new disputes. The study of the history of the discussions of the federal law, as well as the history of later legislative initiatives, helps reconstruct the lively and contentious debate about the Russian language that has taken place in Russia since the beginning of the twenty-first century. More specifically, a linguistic analysis of the text of the law allows us to clarify the original intention of its authors, as well as their concessions to opponents. In addition to these problems, more specific public and government initiatives, such as the 2009 order of the Ministry of Education “On the approval of the list of grammars, dictionaries and reference books containing the norms of the modern Russian literary language in its use as a state language of the Russian Federation”, have also caused heated public debate. Most of the legislative initiatives are based on the new legal concept of “Russian as the state language,” which is accepted as obvious, but in fact requires reflection and linguistic interpretation.